By David Browne
Updated September 09, 1994 at 04:00 AM EDT
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No Prima Donna: The Songs of Van Morrison

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  • Music

It’s a bad sign for any album when Sinead O’Connor sounds comatose, but that’s the case with No Prima Donna: The Songs of Van Morrison (Exile/Polydor). O’Connor’s version of ”You Make Me Feel So Free,” one of 10 renditions of Morrison standards on this latest entry in the beyond-tired tribute-album | sweepstakes, finds her attempting a hiccupy croon to lounge-jazz backing. The rest of the record similarly reduces Morrison’s stormy, tempestuous songs to go-down-easy Irish oatmeal-whether it’s Hothouse Flowers solidifying its status as the world’s dullest Irish band with a turgid ”Bright Side of the Road,” or Elvis Costello turning the ebullient ”Full Force Gale” into funereal a cappella. Granted, jazz diva Cassandra Wilson’s ”Crazy Love” is austere and lovely, and Marianne Faithfull uses her rock-gargoyle pipes to literally become ”Madame George.” But, ironically, the larger problem may be Morrison’s own involvement. He coproduced the album, and the banality of these remakes is perfectly in synch with his own increasingly vague, ethereal music of the last decade. No Prima Donna becomes an unintentional tribute to the easy-listening side of Morrison’s own meandering muse. C

No Prima Donna: The Songs of Van Morrison

type
  • Music

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